Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anti-capitalist protests held in 951 cities worldwide (probably more)

Protesters torched cars, smashed up banks and set fire to a military building in Rome in the worst violence of worldwide demonstrations against corporate greed and government cutbacks.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of the Italian capital for a march that turned violent and equal numbers rallied in Madrid and Lisbon, while Wikileaks founder Julian Assange joined angry demonstrators in London.

The protests were inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement in the United States and the "Indignants" in Spain, targeting 951 cities in 82 countries across the planet in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

It was the biggest show of power yet by a movement born on May 15 when a rally in Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square sparked a worldwide movement that focused anger over unemployment and opposition to the financial elite.

"I think it is very moving that the movement that was born here has extended throughout the world. It was about time for people to rise up," said 24-year-old Carmen Martin as she marched towards Puerta del Sol.

In the Portuguese capital, where some 50,000 rallied, Mathieu Rego, 25, said: "We are victims of financial speculation and this austerity programme is going to ruin us. We have to change this rotten system."

The protests received unexpected support from Italian central bank governor Mario Draghi, a former executive at Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs set to take over as president of the European Central Bank.

"They're angry against the world of finance. I understand them," he added, though expressing regrets at reports of violence. more